March 31, Tucson

US(AZ): CEAC Seminar: Efficient CEA systems and electronic eyes

There will be two speakers at the next CEAC Covering Environments Seminar, held Friday, March 31st, from 4:15 PM to 5:15 PM in the CEAC Lecture Room.

Electronic eyes
At 4:15 PM, Dr. Pedro Andrade-Sanchez (Professor ABE & Associate Specialist Maricopa Agricultural Center @ CALS, The University of Arizona) will give his presentation entitled “Electronic Eyes in Open Fields: Sensing Technologies in Precision Agriculture”.

Drive north on I-10, just a few miles past the I-8 intersection you will find the University of Arizona Maricopa Agricultural Center, and you will see looming on the dusty horizon a machine moving slowly in the field. This is a novel piece of agricultural technology designed to monitor thousands of plants as they grow. The machine is known as the Terra-Ref Field Scanner, and our speaker Dr. Andrade-Sanchez is one of the principal investigators looking at ways to deriving from its computerized sensor 'eyes' extensive and sophisticated information about plant growth. What Andrade-Sanchez, and his team, does with this information is known as "Precision Agriculture" – a novel approach to optimizing the use of farm inputs to substantially increase crop yield while protecting the environment. Through science-based protocols, these technologies enable genetic gain for crop improvement as well as site-specific crop management strategies. The urgent need to increase crop yield comes from the expected increase in the world's population coupled with climate changes (rising temperatures, reduced rainfall), diminished arable land, and reduced ground water resources all of which will require new approaches to feed the world masses. A major approach to this problem is to do more with less: optimize conditions for much higher yields of grain and vegetable production.

Pedro Andrade – Sanchez is familiar with farming systems of the low desert having started his career as a production manager in Baja California, Mexico, then gaining expertise and knowledge through several earned degrees (UC Davis and Autonomous University of Chihuahua) enabling him to work collaboratively in the enormously challenging task at hand: using ultra modern technology in the quest for increased food crop production in open fields based on the high-throughput plant phenotype data (ca 5 TB/d) generated by the Scanner. In today's presentation, Pedro will discuss the intricacies of this consortium project between the Dept of Energy, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the UofA and many other research institutions, and how it fits into the missions of CALS and the University of Arizona.



Efficient CEA systems
At 4:45 PM, Dr. Murat Kacira (Professor ABE, CEAC Faculty, CALS, The University of Arizona) will take the stage and deliver his presentation entitled “Resource Use Efficient CEA Systems Through Smart Sensing & Monitoring, and Climate Control Technologies”.

We have heard of climate change and global warming, and how these changes are going to have devastating effects on our ability to grow sufficient food crops. Moreover, it has been asserted that the only thing humans can do, to mitigate these deleterious changes, is to slow down or eliminate the factors that contribute to these changes. In order to help feeding increasing world population while protecting environment, improving people’s health, and economic growth, there will also be need for smarter, innovative, adaptive, and resource efficient controlled environment agricultural (CEA) systems. The CEA systems are more resource-use efficient when environmental control system use biological system responses as feedback measured in real-time for grower/operator decision making and process controls. Innovative and adaptive CEA technology should go beyond increasing crop yields while providing safe, local and fresh food for communities. The challenge is to succeed in locations where energy resources are strained and limited. Integrating alternative energy applications to CEA food production systems are needed. Computer simulations for aerodynamics analysis of CEA systems offer cost-effective engineering approach to simulate energy exchange processes that are complex, expensive or impossible to study using experimental techniques. They can virtually and realistically determine the effects of hardware design and environmental control operational strategies within the crop canopies of CEA systems to provide design recommendations for system manufacturers, growers and operators for resource efficient systems.

As Kacira explains, the focus of his research team, at ABE and CEAC, is to engineer autonomous plant growth and health sensing & monitoring systems, climate control technologies, and alternative energy applications to create resource use efficient controlled environment agriculture systems.

In his presentation, Dr. Murat Kacira will discuss ongoing projects designed to make food production in controlled environments optimal and sustainable.

Program
A networking, get acquainted session, with light refreshments, will take place between 3:45 to 4:15 pm at the CEAC lecture room (1951 E Roger Rd, Tucson). A Q&A period will follow the talk.
 
If you are unable to attend in person, the seminar series will be available via the web. Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4920843778212089091

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